News of the Weird: Access denied: You just don't smell right

  • Updated: March 28, 2014 - 2:07 PM

Security and law enforcement agencies are looking beyond traditional biometric identification techniques (such as the accurate but obtrusive fingerprint and iris scans and unobtrusive yet questionably accurate facial-recognition) and, based on recent laboratory research, are now considering earwax and underarm odors. Work by Philadelphia’s Monell Chemical Senses Center shows that ear secretions may reveal personal identity, ethnicity, health status and sexual orientation, among other information, and researchers at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (Spain) said their work demonstrates that recognizable patterns in body odor remain stable even through disease and diet change (although admitting that even the best odor technology is far inferior to a dog’s nose).

The entrepreneurial spirit

Branko Bogdanov, 58, his wife, Lela, 52, and daughter Julia, 34, were arrested in March and charged in a 10-year shoplifting enterprise run out of their upscale Northbrook, Ill., home, which they allegedly used as a base while prowling stores in states as far away as Florida, stealing high-end toys and jewelry, which they resold on eBay and to their fences. Police estimate the Bogdanovs swiped as much as $7 million worth on their forays — many items being stashed in Lela’s customized flowing skirts with hidden pockets.

Leading economic indicators

Farming continues to be a noble but grueling existence for rural residents of China, who work for the equivalent of about $1,300 a year, but in one village (Jianshe, in southwest Sichuan province), farmers have established a cooperative capitalist model, and in January officials delivered residents their annual dividend in cold cash — the equivalent of about $2.1 million to split among 438 households. Authorities unloaded bank notes in stacks that constituted a 7-foot-high wall of money, requiring villagers to pull 24-hour shifts to guard it.

With property values sky-high in posh London boroughs like Chelsea and Kensington, some super-wealthy residents desiring to expand — and who might ordinarily be forced to build up higher — are building down, constructing elaborate, multi-story basements instead. CNN reported in January that additions are underway (one covering five floors below ground) for subterranean home theaters, gyms, golf simulators, bowling alleys and even swimming pools.

Read News of the Weird daily at www.weirduniverse.net. Send items to weirdnews@earthlink.net.

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